What is a Major in Family Science?

No environment affects us as profoundly as that of the family. This major includes the scientific study of families and close interpersonal relationships, and how they are influenced by their broader social, political and economic contexts. Students will examine topics and learn skills in areas such as parent-child relationships, family relations, community diversity, community development, sexuality, aging, and more. Graduates will understand how to develop and evaluate social programs and policies to enhance family well-being. 

The program will set you up to pursue Professional Human Ecologist (P.HEc) accreditation after graduation.

Is this program for me?

Develop a career helping families and communities achieve a better quality of life with a major in family ecology. Understanding families and close interpersonal relationships includes recognizing family strengths, issues and challenges across the lifespan. You’ll also study the policies, finances and economic issues families face, and learn skills and strategies for supporting families through education, counselling and intervention.

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Featured Courses

Human Sexuality (HECOL 211)

An inquiry into the nature of sexual behavior, its personal and cultural sources, and the personal, familial and societal implications.

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Intimate Relationships (HECOL 210)

A consideration of the sociological, psychological, and personal factors affecting the development, maintenance and dissolution of intimate relationships today.

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Family Challenges (HECOL 412)

An in-depth exploration of several family challenges (e.g. addiction, homelessness, and childhood and adult abuse). An introduction to specific prevention and intervention approaches related to family challenges. 

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Family Policy Issues (HECOL 440)

Analysis of current policy issues faced by Canadian families and the examination of policies and programs affecting family well-being and relationships.

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Feature Careers

Human ecologists help people enhance their well-being and quality of life at home, at work and in the community. They provide advisory, counselling, management, research and education services related to family functioning, parenting, consumer issues, money management, textiles and clothing, and community resources. Average Salary:  $81,494

Community health representatives consider social factors that can affect health. They work with health care providers to promote wellness, protect health, and prevent injury and illness.  Average Salary: $41,099.00

Source: Government of Alberta, Occupations in Alberta



  • Child & Youth Worker
  • Life Skills Coach
  • Community Services Manager
  • Education Counsellor
  • International Aid Worker 
  • Career Development Professional
  • Child and Youth Care Worker
  • Child and Youth Program Coordinator
  • Community Development Coordinator
  • Family Support Worker
  • Crisis Intervention Worker
  • Policy Analyst 
  • Debt Counsellor

Check out the U of A's Human Ecology Career Guide for more options.